Thumb sucking

Thumb sucking puts a strain on the soft growing bones of the palate (roof of mouth), causing the palate to develop high and narrow in shape. Thumb-sucking children generally have a habit of keeping their tongue in a low resting position, underneath a digit or thumb.

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Thumb sucking can also cause further problems, such as a crowded mouth, crooked teeth, an overjet (gap between the top and bottom teeth) and a receded lower jaw.

Why do we suck our thumbs?

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Infants have strong, pre-determined sucking reflexes. Finding an object to suck on is an extension of this normal behaviour and infants associate it with warmth and safety. About 90 percent of infants in Western cultures engage in what’s termed “non-nutritive sucking” (or sucking for purposes other than feeding), on thumbs, fingers, dummies, blankets, or other objects.

Treatment

 A child displays an open bite from thumb sucking.

A child displays an open bite from thumb sucking.

Most children will stop thumb sucking by six or seven months, but one-third will continue thumb sucking beyond preschool. It is important to discourage any non-nutritive sucking beyond the age of 2 years; however, we do not start therapy until the age of 5.

If your child is over the age of 5 and has expressed a desire to quit, it is definitely a good time to act. This is an active period of growth for children as the baby teeth are beginning to fall out and the face is starting to grow.

OM Health provides fun and friendly programs to help your child kick the habit, allowing children to take an active role in their own treatment. Rochelle has helped many children kick the habit, and we focus on empowering them to decide to stop sucking their thumb.

Contact Rochelle today to organise a consultation and help your child kick the habit.